Blackwater Wines is the brainchild of Francois Haasbroek, a man who is unequivocally part of the bright future of South African wine. Francois completed his schooling in Stellenbosch, surrounded by vineyards, mountains and food. After enrolling at Stellenbosch University and graduating with a bachelor’s degree in science – viticulture and oenology, he did his first stint as a cellar rat at Neil Ellis wines in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The travel bug bit and the need to see how others do what they do led to his first stop: California, where he worked at Dry Creek Vineyard in Sonoma in 2003.
From there, Francois moved on to Jackson Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand and took a few trips to Europe to experience and taste the great wines of the world. Ever since, Europe will always be Francois’ wine library of inspiration. Upon his return from New Zealand, still wet behind the ears at the age of 25, Francois was offered the winemaker post at Waterford Wine Estate in Stellenbosch. The nagging urge to set out on his own winemaking endeavors was always present, but only after nine years at the acclaimed estate did he take the leap to independence. 2010 saw the first tentative steps into this Blackwater Wine project, which ultimately became his focus full time in 2012. Sourcing great grapes and trusting his gut feel, he sets out to create wines that people enjoy drinking.
Blackwater Wines focuses on sourcing fruit from the best possible vineyards across the Western Cape, building long lasting relationships with the growers, and making wines that truly showcase their places of origin. With minimal intervention ethos in the cellar, it all comes down to the grapes, no wine making tricks – just sticking to the basics and attention to details. Francois enjoys wines built on natural acidity and grape tannin, not plastered under layers of oak with countless additions and manipulations forced upon it.